Minn. governor calls for 2-year ban of ‘silly’ drug ads

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty called for a two-year moratorium on DTC drug ads so the FDA can toughen their oversight, the Associated Press reported.  “These advertisements in many instances are really ridiculous -- in my opinion silly,” Pawlenty said during a news conference held in the Minnesota capitol of St. Paul. The Republican governor said the ads contain little useful information and lead consumers to misguided self-diagnosis. He blamed the ads for rising prescription drug costs, stating he would support an outright ban if it would hold up in court. Pawlenty also proposed state legislation allowing state employees to police drug advertising and require drug makers to report how much they spend on advertising in the state. Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch -- a Democrat hoping to unseat Pawlenty in the fall—said the proposal wouldn’t do enough to cut drug costs. Regulating prices and expanding purchasing pools would lower costs more effectively than banning ads, Hatch said. John Kamp, executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication said, “The last time I checked, the people of Minnesota had a First Amendment right to hear all sorts of ideas and options from politicians as well drug companies. Sounds like they are getting an earful from the politicians, at least. Meanwhile, drug ads in Minnesota are stimulating doctor-patient discussions and helping people live better and longer lives.”